BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Electronics

Best REL subwoofer

Which REL subwoofer is best?

No home theater system is complete without a boomy subwoofer. REL is a trusted brand that offers a wide range of subwoofers. Still, it can be tricky to know what kind of subwoofer you might need, and REL offers a handful of configurations and sizes, making your decision even more daunting. However, with a little research, you can find one that works well for your home.

The REL Acoustics HT/1205 12-Inch Subwoofer is a high-end subwoofer that offers vibrational bass tones, bringing any listening experience to life.

What to know before you buy an REL subwoofer

Other hardware

The other speakers you have can help you pick out which subwoofers are best for your setup. If you have surround sound in your home theater, it's necessary to have a subwoofer. However, depending on how much volume your system pumps out, you may need a larger or smaller subwoofer. Other considerations should include checking if you need an audio receiver, a TV or other devices entirely.

Front-firing vs. down-firing subwoofers

Subwoofers from REL have two varieties of directional speakers or drivers. Most REL subwoofers come with a front-firing driver, which means the speaker faces outward from the subwoofer’s enclosure. Alternatively, some may include down-firing drivers, which project the speaker’s audio downward. People heavily debate the differences between the two styles, especially since subwoofers should produce omnidirectional audio. It's best to find the right subwoofer for your room, which depends on your setup and existing speaker system.

Room setup

Where you put your subwoofer will make a major difference in the sound. Unsurprisingly, larger rooms require louder overall volumes, while smaller rooms can get away with smaller subwoofers producing less sound. It’s essential to check the product listing to see what size of room works best. In larger rooms, many elect to use two subwoofers at the same time instead of using just one.

What to look for in a quality REL subwoofer

Driver size

The diameter of a subwoofer’s driver or speaker will determine how loudly and clearly it produces low-end audio. Larger subwoofer speakers produce volumes at louder decibels while representing the range of frequencies produced, resulting in a clear, crisp sound. Subwoofers with larger speakers are heavy and take up more space. Most people using speakers at home can get away with something smaller.

The most common driver size in subwoofers ranges from 6 to 15 inches. Some professional live audio subs are as large as 18 or 21 inches.


While peak wattage refers to the amount of power a subwoofer can manage in a single instance, the root refers to how much power a speaker can handle on a more continuous basis. The higher a subwoofer’s peak and RMS power ratings are, the louder they’ll tend to be.

Crossover and phase

Most subwoofers offer crossover and phase control interfaces for fine-tuning your audio alongside other speakers. The crossover control determines what frequencies divert to your subs. Additionally, phase controls make it easier to get the audio aligned for your speakers, which avoids any sonic byproducts produced by latency and phase issues.

How much you can expect to spend on an REL subwoofer

Cheap REL subwoofers can cost as little as $450. You can expect to spend $600-$1,000 on midrange REL subwoofers, while high-end REL subwoofers can cost as much as $3,300.

REL subwoofer FAQ

Are REL subwoofers active or passive?

A. They’re active since they need power to run the included built-in amplifier. Passive subwoofers require another amplifier, meaning you don't need to plug them into a wall outlet for power. Active subwoofers are called powered subs, and they require power from an external source.

Do REL’s subwoofers sound better than other brands?

A. While REL makes a range of powerful, well-acclaimed subwoofers, it’s hard to say if they’re better than other brands. This is because the audio quality varies from speaker to speaker and from one audio system to another. Whatever brand you go with, it’s important to find a subwoofer that complements your overall sound.

What’s the best REL subwoofer to buy?

Top REL subwoofer

REL Acoustics HT/1205 12-Inch Subwoofer With Long-Throw Driver

What you need to know: This subwoofer features a long-throw driver that works great for small- to medium-sized rooms, and you can easily pair it with a second subwoofer for larger spaces.

What you’ll love: It has a powerful 12-inch front-firing CarbonGlas driver and is suitable for rooms up to 400 square feet. It also has a -6 decibel low-frequency extension at 22 hertz for extra low-end RCA inputs and outputs, Additionally, it has 500 watts at RMS power.

What you should consider: This subwoofer is pretty heavy at 38 pounds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top REL subwoofer for the money

REL Acoustic HT/1003 10-Inch Subwoofer with Long-Throw Driver

What you need to know: This 10-inch subwoofer packs a punch without costing a fortune. It has a front-facing long-throw driver that can accommodate most rooms and home theater systems.

What you’ll love: This subwoofer offers boomy low frequencies with a low-end extension output at 24 hertz despite a lower price. It also includes standard gain, phase and crossover settings on the rear that you can fine-tune, and it has a 300-watt Class D amplifier.

What you should consider: At this price point, it’s worth upgrading to one of REL’s higher-end subwoofers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

REL Acoustics T/5x 8-Inch Subwoofer with Down-Firing Driver

What you need to know: This subwoofer offers a booming bass tone, and it has fewer constraints on optimal placement because of its down-firing driver.

What you’ll love: This small subwoofer includes a powerful down-firing driver with an 8-inch diameter, and it’s great for rooms up to 400 square feet. It also features a low-frequency extension of -6 decibels at 32 hertz. You can buy this subwoofer in glossy black or white finishes.

What you should consider: It only uses LFE, low-level and speaker cable inputs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Peter McGuthrie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: